Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TiReD.....

Like I mentioned yesterday, we have been privileged to serve at the same church for 20 years in January......and God is still blessing us.

We cherish the older members........there are only two that were at our church twenty years ago.  Our first Sunday, there were 12 in Sunday School and 32 for preaching.....and the youngest deacon, at 77 years old, praised God for the large attendance.  (Most of  the original members have gone on to be with the Lord.....and a few have changed churches many times in the past twenty years.)

There are several families that came the first year we were there and they are still present....and some of the "children" are now adults and serving in leadership positions of our church.  God is good......

Ten years ago, God began sending us younger folks.  (That crowd is now in their forties and are very much appreciated.)

In the past 4-5 years....God has used our softball teams to bring in an even younger crowd.  As of right now, our church is about 80-85% under the age of 40.

God is good............we now have LOTS of help.........................

BUT....this NEW GENERATION....the Millennials....are a DOING GENERATION.  They do not have time for meetings, planning, etc.  They want to DO.

AND....they are great at DOING.

But...Roger and I come from the Baby Boomer Generation and we are use to planning and organizing our time away..............so the Millennials are keeping us busy. 

We have had to also step back and realize that if we are going to reach the "church of tomorrow".....meaning the Millennials..............we have got to loosen up and re-think how we do things.

DOING, DOING, DOING.

That's not a bad thing.............it is a good thing.  BUT....it is keeping us busy.

Twenty years ago.........we barely had Sunday School and WMU.

Today.........we have Sunday School, Wednesday night classes, small groups, Bible Studies, Ladies Softball Team, two Men's Softball Teams, a Fishing Team, a Worship Team, a Disc Golf Team and other activities.

God has sent us help, so we do not have to PLAN and organize EVERYTHING............but we do try to "show up" and show our support and help with the activities.

We are TiReD...........but VERY BLESSED!!!


Monday, September 26, 2016

KINK in the PLANS

Just when you think you have it ALL planned out..........and have FINALLY gotten it together.......A BIG KINK IS THROWN INTO YOUR PATH.

Being Bi-Vocational means that Roger has a secular job that pays our bills.  In all honesty, the money our church pays us does not even pay all of our expenses.

We had plans..........

Roger is within two years of retiring from his secular job.

January will mark our 20th year of Ministry at Whites Creek Baptist Church.  Our plans was in two years to be able to devote MORE time and energy to our GROWING CHURCH

We had things all mapped out.

He just found out that his secular job is "out-Sourcing" his entire computer department and much of the company to a company in India. 

OUCH!!!

Now....at 60 years old............instead of sitting back and enjoying the downward ride for two more years.............he is UPDATING his RESUME. 

OUCH!!! 

A change in careers WAS NOT in our carefully laid out plans.

AND......even though this was NOT in OUR PLANS..................GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL

He sees the BIG picture and we only see the small tunnel.

There is no doubt in my mind.....God will take care of us. 

One of the lessons we have learned in life...............just go with the flow.

Twenty-five years ago.....if you had told me that we would move three hours from our "homes" and families............I would have said you were crazy.

BUT.....when we let go and allowed God to Guide us..............we wound up 3 hours from "home" and wound up at our church. 

GOD HAD OTHER PLANS.

I know many of you have had kinks thrown in your plans also.  Tara blogged about "her kink" last week.............her husband taking a position in a church and them having to leave their "comfort zone."

I would LOVE to hear about some of your "KINKS".

THROUGH IT ALL...........GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

All About The Process

" Ask and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." - Matthew 7:7-8 ESV

I read the above verses in my Bible reading this morning. Jesus is calling all of us to ask Him and seek Him while giving us the promise that He will answer. We will be given to. We will find. We will have access. But I know that this summer He showed me that it is all about the process.

As I read, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I found these words to be SO very true in the time I spent seeking His will this summer. 

I was pretty sure when Wally mentioned this church as a possible place of service, that God could not possibly be leading us here. This wasn't what I wanted and I was pretty sure that it wasn't what I had been asking Him to do either. 

I mean I was paying great lip-service, saying "His will be done" and that "I will do whatever for His glory." But, I didn't really mean it. 

Gently, as I was following my simple Bible reading plan, God began to expose my pride and soften my heart toward His plan for our lives. I asked Him to reveal Himself to me and He did. 

Passages in John and then in Acts seem to speak directly into my circumstances and my heart. In my circumstances, He made it clear that we were to serve this new-to-us church. In my heart, He exposed my sinful self-righteousness and pride. In both my circumstances and my heart, He pulled me ever closer to Him. 

Looking back on it now, I know that in the process He was using to answer my prayers as I asked and sought Him, both components were crucial. He was keeping His word by answering my prayers and helping me find my answers as He opened the door I was knocking on. 

I think before, having heard this passage a million times, I brushed over it, not truly believing Jesus' words. But as this summer of seeking comes to a close and in many ways His will seems clear, I am beyond thankful for the journey.I am thankful for the process. 

It wasn't about me getting what I was asking for or finding what I was seeking. It really wasn't even about the door I was knocking on being opened. It was all about the process - the humility and looking, the confession and the claiming. 

No, it wasn't easy and it didn't happen over night, but my God kept His word. He revealed Himself to me and I have grown closer to Him in the process. It was all about the process.

It wasn't about us ending up at a new church or how God was going to provide for our spiritual needs. Yes, He made those things clear, but, in reflection, they are only minor details. It was all about the process. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Time to Transition

While this blog is designed for Ministers' Wives, often our postings are for ANY lady seeking to follow Christ. This is NOT one of those posts.

This IS a posting for the eyes of a minister's wife, because, I know only she can truly appreciate the place I am in right now. It is time to transition.

My husband, Wally, has served our local baptist association for the last 10+ years. As he has visited and filled the pulpit of our various churches over this span, our three daughters and I have been plugged into one group of believers at one church.

Due to God's leading through some recent changes of the last few months, this is about to change.

While Wally is still pleased to serve the association, God has led us to minister to a specific congregation within this group of churches. A week or so ago, he was unanimously voted as their new associate pastor.

We will soon move our membership from the only church our daughters can ever remember attending to a new place. Even though, we aren't physically moving to a new city or a new state - it is a NEW place of service and ministry.

Wally and I are trying to communicate this transition to our girls:

  • The teen gets it and we can already see God growing her spiritually through this experience.
  •  The passionate second grader is another story. She has yet to profess Christ and in her age-expected ways is showing how self-centered she can be. We trust God that she will come around in time. 
  • The "baby" just turned 3 this past Sunday, and is the most flexible, easy-going kid on the planet. Even though she doesn't really understand what is happening, she is definitely along for the ride. 
All of us Vinson girls like to know what to expect. We are not slaves to our schedules and routines by any means, but we all seem to need to know how to envision what will happen next. - We can't yet do that in this time of transition. 

We have not even been in the sanctuary of our new church to be able to imagine worshiping there. Having not seen the Sunday School Classrooms or the nursery, I cannot tell the girls what their Sunday mornings will look like. I want to make this transition the easiest I can for these girlies, but I don't really know how.

On a more personal note, I am praying through where and how and when I will be able to serve this group out of my gifted-ness. The pastor and his wife were wonderful, encouraging me to only step in and serve where God was leading me. 

I have spent the last 22 years working with teens. Is is time for a change? Is God wanting me to serve in another capacity? There is some definite security in doing what I've always done . . .

So, I am seeking your advice.

What things have you done to make similar moves easier for your little people?

What are some verses you've clung to during times of transition? 

How did you find your place of service at the new place?

So, maybe you're not a minister's wife and you've read through my jumble of thoughts. I'd love to hear your feedback too. How has God led you through a time of transition? 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

When the Unexpected Isn't So Unexpected



The following quotes are just a few that popped up from a simple Google search:   pastor steps down. 
“…fired from his position for ‘deep historical patterns of sin’…”
“…removed Pastor…from his leadership position…’for dependence on alcohol for my refuge instead of Jesus and others’…”

“…pastor steps down…accused of misconduct with a minor…”

“…resigned as senior pastor…because he is tired, broken and in need of rest…”
“…’no longer qualified’ to continue as pastor….”

“Two…pastors step down…under unknown circumstances.”

“…Pastor…steps down…to the surprise of many….”

In many of the articles statements like “to the surprise of many” surfaced.  Unexpected.  Shocked.  Surprised.

I wonder.... How many of their wives were surprised?  Shocked?  Or was it expected?

Did she know of his ‘deep historical pattern of sin’?  Perhaps she did not…but perhaps she did and yet ignored it and/or was afraid to expose it.

Did she know he was ‘dependent on alcohol’?  Perhaps she did not…but perhaps she saw him start out drinking a glass of wine in the confinements of their own home in the evening just to unwind and saw it escalate to hard liquor and more often and yet was afraid to expose it.

Did she know he was doing ‘inappropriate things with a minor’?  Perhaps she did not….but perhaps she saw warning signs but was afraid to address it.

Did she know he was ‘tired and broken and in need of rest’?  Perhaps she did not….but perhaps she knew it and said something to him about it over and over again but he did not heed her warnings.

I do not know any of the above pastors or their wives....but my heart grieves for them.  Truthfully, they could be my story.  Or your story.  It is just that their stories hit the media like a tidal wave and most people in their churches did not expect it....nor would the people in our churches.

There are hundreds more stories like theirs that did not make headlines or my Google search.  Many.  Lots.  Sadly way too many.  And, typically, no one in our churches expect it to happen.  But we do.  We see the humanity of our husbands and the relentless pursuit that the enemy has for his destruction and the destruction for His Bride...the church.

Here are just few that I do know about personally.

A couple who served a large church in Memphis, TN was actually divorced…but no one in the church knew about it.  He encouraged her to have an affair and would drive her see the ‘other man’.

A minister in Colorado was involved in pornography and extramarital affairs.  His wife was emotionally abused while the public saw him as a smart, funny, Godly man.  He later committed suicide.

He was involved in pornography…he would saturate his eyes and mind with filth in his office right before stepping in to the pulpit to preach.

Sadly and honestly I could go on and on.  Perhaps you remember Mary Winkler…?

Here’s the burden of my heart….

We must be honest.  We cannot cover up.  We cannot ignore.

We think the best way to help our husbands is to protect them from exposure to their sin.  But is that what God wants?

If you are seeing signs—either obvious or subtle—please address them!  Go to your husband.  Speak Truth to him.  If you are afraid to do that or if he refuses to listen and/or get help…talk to a trusted advisor.

Talk to someone.  Be aware of anything sinful.  Address it while it is small before it grows.  Stop thinking you are the only one who has a husband in the ministry who is harboring sin.  Reach out.  Say something.  It is not your fault.

You were created to be an ezer!!  A very strong helper!!  Help him get help!!

Don’t let him be the next headline.

“Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—beware of their hypocrisy.  The time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public.  Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”  Luke 12:1-3

Tell someone!!  It is not your fault.  You are not in trouble.  God is not mad at you.  Speak up.  Tell someone.

After all....in the words of Mordecai, "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews (and my I be as bold as to say our husbands?) will arise from some other place..."  Esther 4:14

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Unexpected


She was young.  Really young.  Around 13 or 14 young.  (Not like 30 or 40 young…which used to be old….until you are that age or older….then it is young.  Really young.  Focus Dana…focus!  Get back on track and on topic!)

Yes.  She was really, really young and beautiful but her life had not always been easy.  Both of her parents were dead and she was being raised by a relative.  She was living far away from her homeland but she was still a young teenager and doing life.  You know, doing things young teenagers do when they can’t drive or date.

Then it happened.  The unexpected.  In a flash, in an instant, she found herself surrounded with hundreds of other beautiful, young teenagers that she did not know.  She was in a place she never expected to be…doing things she never expected to do…with people she never expected to be with.

The unexpected.  It comes in a flash and yet sometimes can last a lifetime.  It can come without warning but, at the same time, we should be prepared for it.

You have met this young, beautiful girl.  Her name is Hadassah….you might know her better as Esther.  Her life was full of the unexpected…even her name changed.  Hadassah is her Jewish name and Esther is her Persian name…and because of the unexpected she began to look and act (good or bad) more like Esther the Persian rather than Hadassah the Jew.

Perhaps your life is not too far fetched from Hadassah’s.  Perhaps many unexpected twists and turns have happened to you as well.  Perhaps you are in a place you never expected to be (are you living in a town or state you never thought you’d ever live?  In a church you never thought you’d be in?).  Perhaps you are doing things you never expected to do (teaching or counseling or cleaning or serving or being married to a pastor or nothing or whatever) with people you never expected to be with (Yikes!  Who ARE these people I am with??!)!

You were named ______________ (Fill in the blank with your name) but now you are called Pastor’s wife or mom or coach or teacher or whatever.  You are from _____________________ but now you live in _________________!

The unexpected.  It happens.  All.of.the.time.  We are put in situations and circumstances we never, ever expected…or even wanted for that matter....but we can maneuver through each and every unexpected turn with grace and power dependent on the One who goes before us!

Look for the unexpected.  Anticipate it.  Learn to love the unexpected.  Do not fear the unexpected!

Unexpected is often where God shows up and does the biggest, most awesome unexpected things.  After all, He took a beautiful, young teenager and used her to save many of God’s people from destruction!  Totally unexpected!!  Just think what He might want to do through you!

What unexpected thing is happening in your life right now?  Look for ways God might want to use the unexpected things for His glory and your good!!

After all...."who knows (God knows!!), perhaps you have come (unexpectedly) to your royal position for such a time as this!"  Esther 4:14

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Come to Me




Summer is drawing to a close.  School has started.  Christmas is looming.  It just seems life stuff is drowning us and too often we let important things like our time with Jesus slide.  Yes, even minister's wives can forget their time with Jesus.

We rush to get our families out the door for school and work.  Then we, mothers and grandmothers, head off in ten different directions-jobs, errand running, household chores, volunteer work, etc.  By the time everyone is home for the evening, fed and in bed, we are too exhausted to even pray.  We simply mutter a quick “thank you and bless my family” as we slip into slumber.

Daily the Lord softly whispers over and over to his children, “Come to Me.” Sadly, we are so tuned in to the world’s thundering voice that we fail to hear Creator of the World’s gentle whisper.  When we fail to heed Jesus’ call, our days can be filled with chaos.  Just sitting at the feet of Jesus for a few quiet moments can bring a new perspective to our lives and calm our stressed and chaotic souls.

Our troubles and busyness will not disappear.  However, if we will run to him and sit at his feet when Jesus beckons “Come to Me,” we will know “what is the width and length and depth and height of Jesus” love for us.